What is an Alt Session?

We’ve been taking photos of couples for the better part of two decades and we’re always pushing ourselves to think outside of the box and do things a bit differently. Several years ago, we realized that most of our engagement sessions were similar. We would take a couple to a mountain park just before sunset and take 60 or so minutes of portraits. They all turned out beautifully, but they also all looked relatively the same. So, we drew a line in the sand and promised ourselves that from then on, we wouldn’t shoot the same session twice and we began thinking up all sorts of cool alternatives to traditional engagement sessions. Hence the birth of Alt Sessions!  

Nowadays, instead of standing in a field practicing awkward prom poses, we’ll hang out and do something fun for your Alt Session. Like skiing. Or hiking with your dogs. Or grabbing a drink at your favorite happy hour spot. We have a long list of cool ideas and we never do the exact same shoot twice, so your session will be unique to you.

Our list of ideas can essentially be divided into three categories: epic locations, fun activities and avant-garde shoots.

Some of our favorite “epic location” sessions have been White Sands National Park in southern New Mexico, the ice caves in western Colorado, the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah and the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona. And while we think that “epic” is one of the most overused words in the English language today, it’s still the best word to describe these locations (Trust us, we’ve spent hours looking through the thesaurus.)

Examples of activities we’ve photographed include going to watch fireworks, riding around in a tuk-tuk to a bunch of breweries in Denver and touring an antique airplane museum in Palm Springs, CA. Last, but not least, our avant-garde sessions have involved trampolines, colored powder, paint-filled water balloons and many more. There are a million alternatives to traditional engagement sessions we have yet to do, but start by checking out our past shoots below!

Bride and Groom at Brewery | RiNo Engagement | Denver Wedding Photographers | J. La Plante Photo

RiNo Engagement

The last month before your wedding can be a little hectic. There are approximately one million tiny decisions to make. Everyone wants a piece of your time. And you already have a full time job on top of it! You’d be completely justified in wanting to take a day to relax and not think about…
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Unique Engagement Photo Ideas | Holi Powder Engagement | Boulder Wedding Photographers | J. La Plante Photo

Holi Powder Engagement

Melissa and Justin wanted to do something avant-garde for their Alt Session. So Jesse and I dove into our photo bucket list. We’d already done a Holi powder engagement session. And a trampoline engagement session. But what about a trampoline Holi powder engagement session?! Yeah. We thought it was a little out-there, too. But that’s what…
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Bride and Groom Under the Stars | Bonneville Salt Flats Engagement | Destination Wedding Photographer | J. La Plante Photo

Bonneville Salt Flats Engagement

Where to begin? There’s so much I want to say about Frances and Bryce’s Bonneville Salt Flats engagement session that I’m paradoxically at a loss for words (much to Jesse’s disbelief). But if you take nothing else from this blog post, know that we had the best time at this Alt Session! Serendipity brought these…
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Bride and Groom in Ice Cave | Rifle Falls Engagement | Colorado Wedding Photographers | J. La Plante Photo

Rifle Falls Engagement

Ashley and Mitch wanted their Alt Session photos to contrast the tropical location where they’re getting married. And I love a good challenge. We already shot at the Ice Castles last year, so that was out. Snow is hard to predict in Colorado, so that added another wrench. But a few months ago, on a…
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Garden of the Gods Engagement | Colorado Springs Engagement | Colorado Springs Wedding Photographer | J. La Plante Photo

Garden of the Gods Engagement

The first things that Lauren and Quentin shared with me about themselves were their love of outdoor activities and brewing their own beer. So, naturally, we had to follow their Garden of the Gods engagement session with a visit to Iron Bird Brewing Company. (And besides, can you even call it an Alt Session if it…
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Arches National Park Engagement | Moab Engagement | Destination Wedding Photographer | J. La Plante Photo

Arches National Park Engagement

Eden and Cade live in Iowa, are getting married in Colorado, and made a special trip to Utah for their Alt Session this past weekend, which is exactly the kind of dedication to photos we love to see! So Jesse and I wanted to make sure this Arches National Park engagement session was completely worth…
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Great Sand Dunes Engagement | Colorado Wedding Photographer | J La Plante Photo

Great Sand Dunes Engagement

One of the things that can make or break a photo shoot is the level of trust a couple has in us. The more a couple trusts our (sometimes bizarre) requests, the better the photos turn out because they’re able to relax and rest easy, knowing that we’re going to take them on a super…
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San Francisco Sunset Lifestyle Photo Shoot | Destination Wedding Photographer | J La Plante Photo

Tiny House Lifestyle Shoot

Catherine and Kacey are two of the most intelligent, caring and kind people you’ll ever meet. They laugh easily and often. They’re not scared away by a challenge. And they may have found a solution to the incessant noise of today’s digital world – in the form of their Bay Area tiny house. The idea…
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Beaver Creek engagement session under the stars | Beaver Creek engagement photographer | J La Plante Photo

Beaver Creek Engagement

After our adventures at Vail, we headed off to one of my favorite resorts for the second part of Kelly and Chris’s Alt Session. Beaver Creek Resort is a beautiful spot to ski, get hitched, or just hang out and eat cookies. But because we’re always searching for interesting activities for our Alt Sessions, their…
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Vail Ski Engagement | Couple riding chairlift | Vail wedding photographer | J. La Plante Photo

Vail Ski Engagement

If you ever hear me complain about what we do for a living, I want you to go ahead and just slap me. Then remind me about this Vail ski engagement session. Kelly and Chris are awesome people. I know this to be true for several reasons. In no particular order: They’re adventurous:  When I first…
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Bride and Groom in Ice Castle | Keystone Ice Castle Engagement | Colorado Wedding Photographer | J. La Plante Photo

Keystone Ice Castle Engagement

My obsession began a few months ago when I first saw the Dillon Ice Castle in a Facebook post. I knew immediately that I had to do everything in my power to do a shoot there. With Natasha and Doug coming from Glenwood Springs and us being located in Boulder County, Dillon ended up being the…
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Aerial engagement session | Copper Mountain engagement photographer | J L a Plante Photo

Aerial Engagement

As millions of people were spending Wednesday night in crowded airports on their way to celebrate Thanksgiving, Jesse and I were hanging out with Cat and Bryant at Copper Mountain’s Woodward Training Facility for their aerial engagement session. At our first meeting with the couple, they casually mentioned doing their engagement session at Woodward and…
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